Just because we don’t live in the mountains, doesn’t mean we can’t learn how to ski—right here in our very own city.
We’re not saying the hills are alive with the sound of music, but they are great places to learn how to ski or snowboard (especially for young ones who will think they are mountains).
Both centrally located, Earl Bales and Centennial Park offer a variety of lessons through the Toronto Parks and Recreation programming, as well as public skiing. We recommend private lessons if classes are already booked. They even offer after-school lessons on week nights and night skiing. Equipment rentals are available for skiing and snowboarding (make sure to factor in at least 20 minutes for a family of four to get properly sized and geared up in the equipment centre). They do have helmets for rental, with sanitary head caps provided, but we recommend bringing your own.
On weekends, the hills are busy and equipment rentals don’t start until 3 pm (with line-ups often starting at 2 pm). If you have your own skis or snowboard, skiing is allowed anytime during regular operating hours. Both locations offer snack bars, a limited number of lockers and ample parking.
Good to Know: Earl Bales has a bunny hill with tow rope and a double chair lift serving three other intermediate runs that are good for toddlers getting used to the motion of going downhill on skis. Centennial Park, located in Etobicoke, offers one hill with three runs, all of which are generally catered to beginners.